LifePath Therapy Associates

Spiritual Identity

As part of therapy, we frequently explore purpose, spirituality, faith, and identity.

These topics aren’t off-limits.

For many, their spiritual or religious identity is an extremely meaningful part of their life and their understanding of self. Here at LifePath therapy, we welcome all parts of you, including your spiritual self and journey.

Incorporating your spiritual identity into therapy can take many forms. For some it may be exploring your spiritual or religious identity if it feels in question or tenuous, creating space to hold the tensions. It may be having a space where your therapist recognizes and understands how your spiritual beliefs impact your worldview, values, and sense of self – identifying where your spirituality is a source of strength. And for other folks it may be healing from religious trauma, understanding and unpacking the impact of belief systems and communities that were harmful.

Spiritual Identity Therapy
It may be helpful to seek out therapy at a spiritually welcoming practice if you find yourself experiencing…
  • Distress/confusion about your spiritual identity
  • Post-traumatic stress such as flashbacks
  • A desire for a therapist that will recognize and acknowledge your spiritual identity without judgment or dismissal

Faith Transitions

Deciding whether or not to stay or leave your faith is an incredibly difficult process. Some folks may decide to leave their faith entirely, while others may be sorting through what elements they want to leave behind and which they want to keep or transform. While this process can feel freeing, it can be disorienting, lonely, confusing, and grief provoking. When you’ve been a part of a religious group, leaving entirely or shifting your belief system may feel like it is shaking the foundation of who you feel you are and who you’ve thought you should be. Friends, family, and others in your community may respond in ways that increase isolation or strain in your relationships. Therapy can give you the space to untangle and make sense of these confusion feelings, as well as provide support as you walk out the process.

Religious Trauma

At LifePath we recognize that for many their spiritual experiences, communities, and beliefs have been life affirming. Others however, have experienced religious trauma within faith communities.

Religious Trauma is trauma experienced in a religious context or as a result of religious beliefs, practices, or structures. It is often a result of being in an authoritarian religion or faith community. Suffering with religious trauma may look like struggling with difficulty trusting oneself, experiencing shame or low self esteem, all or nothing thinking, or feeling indebted to a group of people. Often in fundamentalist spiritual communities, the views and beliefs taught about emotions, relationships, sex, purity, authority, discipline, and self-expression may contribute to pain and mental health challenges. These environments also often breed sexual abuse, abuse of power by those in leadership, secrecy, group policing and social shaming.

Below are some symptoms commonly experienced by people suffering from Religious Trauma Syndrome.
  • Negative beliefs about self, others, and the world
  • Difficulty making decisions and trusting oneself
  • Rigid thought patterns
  • Difficulties experiencing pleasure or loss of meaning
  • Sexual difficulties or pain
  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, grief, anger, lethargy
  • A sense of feeling lost, directionless, and alone
  • A loss of a community, feeling that you don’t belong
  • Feeling isolated 
  • A deep sense of shame
Religious trauma is not isolated to one particular religion or faith community, and at LifePath we are equipped to come alongside you in your process of healing. You are not alone.
Spiritual identity therapy at LifePath is not… about your therapist imposing a particular belief system or spiritual perspective/practices on you. All paths are recognized and affirmed and our work together is about discovering which path is meaningful and helpful for you.

Begin Healing from religious trauma and strengthen your spiritual identity in Chicago, IL

Many of our compassionate therapists specialize in supporting folks going through grief and loss. We hope that you will reach out today to get the support that you deserve.

More Counseling Services
at LifePath Therapy Associates

Our therapists understand that people face a multitude of unique challenges across the lifespan, and we offer therapy services for grief and loss support, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress and complex trauma, gender and sexuality, maternal mental health, teens, young adults, couples work, family therapy, and caregiver support, as well as many other specialized areas of focus. Reach out today to be matched with the therapist who is the best fit for you!